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All it takes is a sneeze. A few days later, you wake up with a fever, a sore throat and a headache. By lunchtime, your nose is running and your muscles hurt.

You have the flu. The annual vaccination that you may have received should have stopped the virus, but it was one step ahead and mutated, making the vaccine ineffective. How? Well, there is an enzyme that the flu virus uses to copy itself – its “beating heart” – and create mutations. And understanding how this enzyme works is crucial in our attempts to treat and prevent flu.

Read the full article on The Conversation website, written by Aartjan te Velthuis, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology and Nicole Robb, Department of Physics

Oxford is a subscribing member of The Conversation. Find out how you can write for The Conversation.

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